Uploaded on April 14, 2012 by Rebaz Zedbagi Powered by YouTube
This exclusive film was apparently the first film report ever from what was then the world's most forgotten battlefront. It would seem that, by the time the commentary track was dubbed, peace talks were taking place, and there was a brief cessation in the war.] The film was shot by a camera team who entered the Kurdish occupied area of Northern Iraq through Persia (Iran), the only available entry point. This mountainous area is unofficially known as Kurdistan, after the Kurdish tribesmen who've lived there since Biblical times. For the past five years Kurdistan has been pinning down two thirds of the Iraq military in a war of independence. The only outside help they have had is unofficial - from Persia. The report shows a petrol dump near the border which is for the use of vehicles taking supplies to the rebels. Russia used to aid Kurdistan as a way of gaining access to the Middle East oilfields, but the shifting balance of power has meant that Russia has sought other, more powerful influences in the region. There is footage from the team's car driving through the ill-defined border. Persia allows Kurds unrestricted access to the last outpost in Persia before the frontier, Khanem, where they can buy supplies. The government turns a blind eye to this activity, partly to soothe its own Kurdish minority, and partly because its relations with Iraq are strained. Iraqi planes have strafed Persian villages on previous occassions. The camera team is met on the no man's land border by an impromptu 'reception committee' sent by a notified Kurdish commander. The Iraqi regulars have their main garrison at Rawanduz, about 30 miles from the Kurdish stronghold, Galala, which is the first refuelling point. The wreckage of an Iraqi MIG fighter is trawled over here, and there is footage of buildings destroyed here, including a school and a mosque. Galala is the main supply centre for the Kurdish soldiers, or Peshmurgas, as they call themselves. The name means 'those who are prepared to die'. It is the only town where they can buy food, clothes and guns between battles, but ironically they pay in Iraqi dinars. Although the Kurds can claim all the trappings of a spearate state, they use the currency of their sworn enemy. During the fighting Galala and towns like it live by night, when they are free from Iraqi air raids. At night, the army-controlled administration keeps the civil service going, and army courts meet to settle civil disputes. The Kurds are bound by a strict moral code. A bride found to have lost her virginity before marriage can be shot. The history of the Kurds is a fascinating, if tragic one. They have lived in the mountains since 2,000 BC, and claim to be descendents of the Medes of the Old Testament. They've been invaded, conquered and forced to migrate, but they've never allowed themselves to be submitted to outside rule for long. Their objection to being a minority race in Iraq is that their autonomy, language and pride will be lost. If they are to be a part of Iraq, they demand full participation in the government and the army. The Kurds are undisputed masters of the mountains, where the Iraqi tanks can't reach them. They are highly skilled guerilla fighters, able to move unseen amongst the rocks, and command a birds eye view of Iraqi troop movements from lofty vantage points. This also allows them to dominate roads. One example of their success in a 'war of attrition' is Rawanduz. 30,000 Iraqi troops have been pinned down there by a handful of peshmergas with heavy American mortars. Their aim is devastatingly accurate, and they usually implement a hit and run technique. On the ground the Kurds have the advantage of their intimate knoweldge of the territory. So the Iraqis concentrate on surprise air attacks. A frequent target is Hamilton's Bridge at Cho-man, as the report demonstrates.
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